Tonka beans are not usually found amongst a Kitchen Witches supply of herbs, but I was given a small jar of them recently from a friend. I hadn’t used them before as I prefer to use what I have to hand, rather than buying exotic ingredients from all over the world, but it would have been wasteful to throw them away, so I decided to do a bit of research, which turned into this blog.
Tonka beans are the seed from the fruit of the flowering Tonka tree that grows in the South American rainforests. The tree belongs to the legume family and can grow up to 25-30 meters tall. The fruits are a favourite food of bats.
The beans are hard, black, wrinkled and have a strong sweet vanilla scent. They have been used in perfumes and tobacco and to flavour some foods in the past, particularly Vanilla extract. The scent is due to a substance called Coumarin which is found in many plants including Woodruff , Sweetgrass, Clover and Cassia Cinnamon ( Cinnamomum cassia) not to be confused with true Cinnamon (Cinnamomun verum). Large amounts of Coumarin are toxic and it has been banned as a food additive in many countries including the US.
Folk Names: Coumaria nut, Tonqua, Tonquin Bean, Love bean
Magical Properties: Love, Money, Courage, Wishes, Luck, Abundance
Tonka beans are a popular magical ingredient in Hoodoo. They have a strong drawing power, used to draw love, luck and wishes. Generally in order to make wishes come true, the beans should be used in odd numbers of 3,5 or 7. Each of the beans should be allocated a wish.
Add Tonkas beans to spell pouches or mojo bags to bring love, luck or money into your life.
Tonka beans can be chopped or crushed and added to incenses or potpourris.
Love magic is tricky and not popular with a lot of witches. However as long as you don’t specify a particular person and just ask for love to come into your life, or rejuvenate a relationship, you will be fine. The following is based on a traditional Hoodoo love spell using Tonka beans.
Take an odd number of Tonka beans ( 3,5 or 7) and make a love wish for each bean. Keep the beans in your pocket during the day and under your pillow at night for 7 days and nights. On the 7th day go to a river or stream, stand facing away from the river and throw the beans over your left shoulder into the water. Walk away without looking back and in 7 days your wishes will come true.
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs - Scott Cunningham